The Tony Jones Blog at Patheos
Dear TJ, I know you’re smart enough to not be insinuating that Christians who do not affirm homosex are all hateful people. If they are I would urge them to give up their hatred as well. Also, I *think* you’re smart enough to know that Christians who do not affirm homosex aren’t idiots who don’t realize that there is a good reason Christians don’t obey the Levitical Laws any more. That reason being? We’re justified by the faithfulness of Jesus NOT by works of the law (i.e. circumcision, sabbath keeping, and kosher diet). Paul himself would enjoy the 12 piece shrimp meal while at the same time he would also say don’t go around practicing sexual immorality. He understood the difference between sex and works of the law as the basis of membership within the covenant community.
Haha. Thanks for this Tony. If nothing else, godhatesshrimp.com is a good commentary on how we pick and choose which passages we take seriously. We must have some other ethical reasoning beyond “the Bible says” card. This reminds me of the Talmudic concept of Tikkun Olam, healing the world… don’t just follow the law for the sake of following the law, do it for the sake of Tikkun Olam, for the sake of others (“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”). When our ethics are constructed through the lens of Tikkun Olam, context becomes a necessity and we must ask not only what God wants but we must ask that difficult “why” question. It doesn’t mean we’re “hateful” people but misguided obedience tends to look a lot like hate. The pharisees are a good example of that… “Is it better to do good or to do Evil?” (Mark 3:1-6).
Hmmmm…let’s see…I love children, therefore I hate abortion. I love my African American Pastor, therefore I hate racism. I love the holiness of God, therefore I hate my sin. No thanks. I’ll keep some of my hate.
Haha, I love the signs with the people picketing and wearing surgeon’s masks. Though I think Scott is right, that we really shouldn’t characterize all who oppose homosexuality as hateful bigots. We all know that many are loving, intelligent, well-read Christians, and we really shouldn’t label them a group as hateful. Instead, we should just learn to love the individuals, even if we disagree with them. I do love the concept of protesting outside of Red Lobster though. Way too much fun. Wes, we do have to be a bit careful though. I’m rather uninformed on this issue, but Tikkun Olam sounds like it could become almost a fixed and rigified hermeneutic, if one isn’t careful. I tend to think that our hermeneutic, our lens through which we interpret scripture, is born out of scripture itself. Scripture is always reconstituting our method of interpretation (not to say our souls!), which brings with it a new way of looking at scripture, of course further developing our lens. It’s a circle, yes, but a beautiful one, always developing, always growing, always reaching towards a God who stands beyond our way of reading and yet somehow incarnates himself within it, and guides us with the love of his spirit.
Cheers to that one Tony.
Jim: “we really shouldn’t characterize all who oppose homosexuality as hateful bigots.” If I see discrimination, I’m not going to call it something else so I don’t hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe if more of those who oppose non-heterosexuality didn’t try to label us as mentally ill criminals with no morals to get votes, I’d be more inclined to show them some respect. I admit I find GodHatesShrimp amusing, but I don’t know if it does any real good. I mean, even the Phelps clan will just pull out the good old “that’s temple law, not moral law” excuse.
Mordred08: “Jim: “we really shouldn’t characterize all who oppose homosexuality as hateful bigots.” If I see discrimination, I’m not going to call it something else so I don’t hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe if more of those who oppose non-heterosexuality didn’t try to label us as mentally ill criminals with no morals to get votes, I’d be more inclined to show them some respect.” I appreciate your perspective, Mordred, and you’ve definitely had more experience with this than I have, so please accept what I say as being very tentative. I in no way want to say that we shouldn’t speak the truth (whatever we think the truth to be). Certainly we should call discrimination discrimination, wherever we find it, and we should never tolerate injustice. I’m just saying we shouldn’t characterize a whole group of people as hateful bigots because of their beliefs without getting to know them as individuals. Maybe an example will help me explain. I have a friend named Megan. She’s a pretty conservative Christian, borderline fundamentalist, who believes, based on her scriptural convictions, that homosexuality is wrong. And yet Megan is the sweetest, gentlest, most loving person I know. She is incredibly accepting of my homosexual friends, and is, quite frankly, more loving toward them than I am. I can’t help but see Christ in all her actions. There is no way I could ever look at her life and call her a hateful bigot, whatever her beliefs. Now not everyone is like Megan (on either side!). Many who oppose homosexuality are, in fact, hateful bigots. But that’s exactly why we can’t judge them all as a group. We need to get to know people, to love them, to be Christ to them and let them be Christ to us, admitting, as Brian beautifully says, “that we’re all on a journey of discovery with God.” Hopefully, if we live like this and we love like this, there will be less name-calling, less labeling, less hatred, and a whole lot more Christ.
LOL! You are comparing dietary laws to how God created man and woman… PRICELESS!
Who is this strange Brian fellow, with his gentle reason and sense-making? Surely you wandered in from some kinder, smarter dimension…
Brian, Back to your comment/rant on the Pharisees, you’re preaching to the choir on that one. I am usually a “pharisee sympathizer”. They’re the group with which Jesus probably shared the most commonality (which makes sense that he’s criticize them even more). When I mentioned them in my comment I was really trying to refer to a specific story (mark 3:1-6) where they are indeed a good example of people who have missed the point on why they should be obedient to the Torah. Jim, Thanks for that comment about Tikkun Olam. You’re right that we need to be careful, your “circle” perspective is indeed a good and beautiful paradox of Biblical interpretation. I never mean to construct a “fixed and rigid hermeneutic” but I think Tikkun Olam reorients the heart toward others rather than toward the self-centered act of obedience for one’s own sake which is obedience for the sake of obedience. This seems quite pertinent to the homosexuality debate. If our arguments become dehumanizing to others then we’ve missed the point.
“Though I think Scott is right, that we really shouldn’t characterize all who oppose homosexuality as hateful bigots.” Jim, I don’t think Scott is right because we don’t “characterize all who oppose homosexuality as hateful bigots.” We save the “hateful bigot” label for those who deserve it. This includes those who (as Mordred pointed out) call us “mentally ill” or “criminals with no morals”. Or, those who, like would-be President Mike Hucklebee, compare our loving, committed, consenting, adult relationships to “marrying a child” (i.e. pedophilia) and “marrying an animal” (i.e. beastiality). Or, to those who call us “Satan’s minions” and “sons of Molech”. Or, to those who compare our relationships to “marrying a plant”, (or a “rock”, or a “bicycle”), to necrophilia, canniblism, rape, incest, and polygamy. Or, like two state governors have done lately, as “worse than terrorists” and “murderers”. Or, for those who do not believe gay American citizens are deserving of equal treatment before the law (i.e. the Constitution) or deserving of the “inalienable rights” to LIBERTY, not to mention the pursuit of happiness. (ALL of these comparisons have been culled from blogs and comboxers right here on Beliefnet, btw!) For those who merely “do not affirm homosex” because of their religious beliefs, I can enter into a civil dialogue and say that my faith does affirm my love for my (legal) husband (we were maried inn our Church), and since I actually believe in this freedom of religion thing, we can agree to disagree. Those who cannot (do not) proffer me my own freedom of religion and would prefer that I abide by the tenets of a faith to which I do not belong, for those, I shake the dust off my shoes and continue my life as God ordered it – for me. Me? I’m giving up posting on the Crunchy Con blog for Lent.
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